HOUSTON — Harris County officials said Thursday they're keeping a close eye on the system in the Gulf that's expected to bring rain during the weekend. Their message to residents: plan but don't panic.
“By no means is this a Harvey forecast,” said Francisco Sanchez of the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “It’s a tricky forecast. We’re gonna be watching it.”
Sanchez and Jeff Lindner, Meteorologist for the Harris County Flood Control District, said tropical systems can change quickly and be hard to predict.
“The good news is, the ground is dry,” said Lindner. “We have been dry for the last several weeks across the area, so the ground can handle several inches of rainfall before we start getting significant runoff.”
Lindner also said both Addicks and Barker Reservoirs are empty, and Lake Conroe is slightly lower than normal because of the drought.
On Thursday, crews began temporarily lowering the level of Lake Houston from 42.5 feet to 41 feet to make room for the incoming rain.
Sanchez said as of Thursday, there were no plans to activate the Emergency Operations Center but said his agency had a plan should the forecast change.
“One of the things that is most appropriate at this point in the forecast is for our transportation partners to know that high water locations are the most significant threat based on the forecast that we have now,” said Sanchez. “We have conference calls with them scheduled with them for this afternoon. I know that part of their preparedness is making sure that they have those barriers in place in case they need to be put out.”
Sanchez says the county will hold conference calls with other agencies on Thursday and Friday and continue to monitor the forecast through the weekend.